So, I’ve finally managed to catch up on the recording. I’m not sure that I have any specific comments regarding trademarks, that seems to be well in hand.
I would also like to get a list of all the board members forum accounts so that I can create a ‘DAI Foundation’ forum group, so that it’s easier for the community to identify you and draw your attention to relevant threads.
My main concerns are around how the DAI Foundation would respond in the event of a non-malicious protocol fork, as raised by @Kurt_Barry in the call. I’m aware that this is an area you are actively working in, which is great, but I’m worried about how this situation would interact with the funding of the DAI Foundation.
Basically, if the DAI Foundation is funded by Maker Governance, that means that there are going to be conflicts of interest in the event of a non-malicious protocol fork. In that situation both sides are going to want to retain use of the trademarks, and one or both may not be able to afford to fund the DAI Foundation.
Naturally this shouldn’t have a bearing on which ‘side’ ends up with access to the trademarks - but it may well do if the ‘correct’ side (assuming there is one) may not be the side with the ability to fund the DAI Foundation.
All of this is very edge-casey, but I think it would be good if the DAI Foundation considered denying both sides of any fork use of the trademarks until it becomes clear which is more in line with the DAI Foundation’s principles, especially if it is unclear which fork is the ‘majority’ fork. Not only will this avoid swift decisions made with potentially incomplete information, but it should also serve as a deterrent against forking the protocol at all.
I’m also slightly concerned about the result if Maker Governance ends up (without forking) moving away from the principles laid out in the DAI Foundation’s trust deed. In this case (if for example Maker Governance decided to start producing propriety code) would the DAI Foundation be forced to deny Maker Governance use of the Maker protocol trademarks?
Already even, I believe one of the principles is something along the lines of serving the financial needs of the underserved.
The MakerDAO system shall ensure a high degree of access and distribution to the unbanked and financially underserved…
Well, we’ve raised the
dust limit to the point where it’s not entirely clear whether we’re still sticking to that principle, even if we want to. What would constitute a breach of these principles and how would the DAI Foundation react to such a breach if it represented the will of Maker Governance?
Furthermore, if the answer to this is that the DAI Foundation will deny the use of the trademarks to Maker Governance, why would Maker Governance agree to fund this Foundation versus spinning up a separate entity that does not expose Maker Governance to this vulnerability?
Further-furthermore, even if Maker Governance does at this stage of the project agree to these principles, because the DAI Foundation is funded by Maker Governance, the DAI Foundation will ultimately be unable enforce these principles upon Maker Governance due to the reliance on funding. All governance needs to do is cut funding and wait until the DAI Foundation is depleted of resources and is no longer able to legally defend these trademarks.